Store manager Mary Archer was likely more concerned with her own life than corporate policies early last Friday, when she slipped through the drive-through window of an Arby's to evade a robber who was brandishing a knife and demanding money.
But Arby's corporate honchos were unmoved and axed the veteran employee of the fast-food chain less than 24 hours after the incident in the Fairborn, Ohio, store. The company said that by allowing herself to be the lone employee in the store Archer failed to maintain the company's safety and security policy.
"I can't believe that I got through this situation alive, because I really thought I was going to die," Archer told local station WHIO-TV.
The burglar got into the restaurant shortly after another employee had left, leaving her the only store employee there, according to Archer's recollection of the incident. Archer, who was the manager on duty, was preparing to close when she heard the store's doorbell ring and figured the other worker had forgotten something, she told a television reporter (via the Dayton Daily News).
But to her horror, it was a burglar.
"He held up a knife and kept saying, 'Give me the money,' " she said.
The man cornered Archer in the office, but she shoved him aside and made her way to the drive-thru window, where she screamed for help, she said. Archer then climbed through the window.
A customer at a nearby convenience store heard Archer's cry for help and called police.
"I had pushed him away ... because I'm like, 'I'm not going to die in Arby's tonight ... I'm just not,' " said Archer, 56, who would have marked 23 years with the company in January.
Friday's attempted robbery was reportedly the third that time thieves had targeted the Arby's, Archer's daughter told WHIO. Previously, burglars made off with the store's safe after failing a first time, but nothing was reported taken in Friday's attempt, and police are still looking for a suspect.
Arby's, an affiliate of Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group, said violations of its safety and security policy mean termination of employment without exception.
WHIO quotes an unnamed vice president of human resources at Arby's, who said that he feels bad about Archer's ordeal, but that Archer knowingly violated the company's safety and security policy -- and had been warned before.
Archer, however, isn't keen on returning anyway, saying, "I don't want my job back."
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